Telo Islands, Sumatra

telos surf

The Southern Telo islands are home to a number of world class waves. 15 of which are within about 20 minutes of each other.  The only camp located in the area is Surfing Village which has 3 waves on its doorstep, one of which is the infamous Pasti – a 300 yard right hand tube machine that’s been graced by the legendary Andy Irons as well as Parko and Shane Dorian (check out Blue Horizon by Jack McCoy). The rest of the area offers a nice mix of waves for all abilities, from long walled up set-ups, to wedgey bowls and from deep water peaks to perfect beach breaks. It’s got it all.

surfing village

With the same swell consistency as it’s more famous neighbouring islands, the few local resorts & charters that frequent this remote corner have learned to protect what is considered one of the true last frontiers of Indonesia.

The surf season is divided by a high season (April until October/November) and a low season (November until March). From April onwards, consistent swells frequent the islands shores producing world class waves in the head high to double over head range. This is the busier part of the year regards crowds –with an average crowd of around 15 guys to be expected at most surf spots. It is also the dry season where you’d experience very little rain and so surfing during the mid day sun can be extremely punishing. Winds are light and variable most the year but from time to time a Southerly wind pattern will set in, limiting some of the surfing options.

telos surfing village

Instead of “home stays” – higher end resorts have the run of the land. These resorts actually work with each other (including the charter boats) – and respect each other’s guests – deliberately surfing different waves to keep the crowds to an absolute minimum. It really works well. The ethics in place in the Telos simply don’t exist in the majority of Indonesia. The numerous world class quality surf breaks will often have 2-3 names and their locations rarely pinpointed on maps resulting in a better surf experience for everyone.

To surf the whole of the Telos, you’d need use a charter boat. The surf resorts in the region will usually only surf the Northern area or the Southern area.

A full list of your options can be found below:

travel to telo islands

Your international flight should arrive into Jakarta, SoekarnoHatta International Airport (CGK) or Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL)

From Jakarta or KL, you usually will need to take a further flight to Padang, Minangkabau International Airport (PDG)

It’s about 1hr from Padang airport to downtown Padang where the majority of the hotels are. Some charter boats also depart from the river - but some also depart from Bungus port which is about 1hr from downtown Padang. Some guests will need to overnight in Padang - other guests wont need to depending on arrival and departure flight times.

For more detailed information including airline information, airport transfers and hotels please visit the individual camps or boats listed below.

As a rule, Sumatra is best explored as an intermediate or advanced surfer although there are some camps that cater for beginners in the Mentawais as well as South Sumatra.

Beginner surfer – can only surf the white water & often misses waves. Leaner’s will wipe out regularly on take-off and whilst riding a wave.

Beginner-intermediate surfer – can catch waves regularly, trimming left & right but without performing many manoeuvres.

Intermediate surfer – Will rarely miss catching a wave & will complete most waves from start to finish. Surfers will perform basic manoeuvres such as a cut-back, re-entry and floater.

Intermediate-advanced surfer - will perform most manoeuvres including getting tubed and sometimes aerial manoeuvres. These surfers are competent on point breaks and reef breaks.

Advanced surfer – are fast, stylish and will make surfing look easy. If they’re not performing aerials, then they will be getting tubed all day long or displaying an array of carves, hacks and flowing turns.

Guests should be aware of the following hazards & natural disasters:

Malaria is something that exists but isn’t a problem if guests cover up at dawn & dusk and use plenty of anti-mosquito sprays when not in the surf. Anti-malarial medication can also be taken.

Earthquakes do occur throughout Sumatra on a regular basis. But most of them are non destructive. Most casualties are due to the poor state of its buildings, which 99% of the time, shouldn’t affect any of our guests.

Tsunami’s like the huge one in 2004 are rare. On average, once every five years or so, a large tsunami occurs in “Indonesia”. Generally, damage to the infrastructure exceeds the loss of lives. Most camps in the area have an evacuation plan as well as the charter boats. In fact being on a boat is probably the safest place to be.

Coral Reef – Although it helps shape the mechanical waves of the region, it is also something to be respectful of due it’s sharpness. It’s why we recommend only experienced riders venturing to some of the more dangerous surf spots.

Telo Islands

Telos Surfing Village

With a limit of 12 surfers and no other camps in the area, this is quite simply the ultimate surf trip...

Surfers From: USD 180 pp / night
Non Surfers From: USD 180 pp / night

Wave Quality: World Class
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Pasti
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-15 surfers
Season: April until October

Pasti is the reason you should come to the Telo Islands. At least for tube hungry riders who are comfortable with big drops, bigger barrels and fast exits. When it’s on, Pasti is something to behold. It’s mesmerising from start to finish whether you’re in the line-up or mind surfing it from the safety of the camp. In glassy or off-shore conditions, it can deliver 3 separate barrel sections starting from the take off, then running into a 2nd very makeable tube section before a final barrel which although also breaks with perfect form – can shut down on the last inside section – you have been warned! This right hander only really starts to become a real quality wave in the head high region & will peel with perfect form. At 4-6’ it becomes even more lined-up. At 8’ it’s for chargers only as the take off zone remains in the same spot but the wave refuses to get much taller – just thicker. Be sure to check out the section on Andy Irons & co surfing in Blue Horizon (the last section is Pasti) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJk0r6tw2nc

Wave Quality: Average
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Nagas
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-5 surfers
Season: April until October

Pasti’s little brother aka Nagas is found just a stone’s throw away. Only separated by a very handy keyhole – this right hander breaks on the same conditions and is often over looked by surfers. Nagas is often at its best when Pasti is doing its thing and so will largely go unnoticed. Although much shorter in length, this spot can often produce quality surf, certainly around the head high range – running down the reef delivering barrel sections and steep walls to throw some turns on. If you fancy surfing alone, then check out the right, you might be surprised with what you find. 

Wave Quality: Good Fun
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Bagas
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Very
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-15 surfers
Season: Year Round

Baga is one of the “go to” waves in the area as it’s a reliable swell magnet, has favourable wind conditions and it works on all tides. It’s located off a desolate tropical island with translucent water and is very close to Surfing Village. Perfect for pretty much anyone – it breaks from 2’-10‘ – and offers long playful walls as well as the odd tube section here and there. 

Wave Quality: Good
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Mibs
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-10 surfers
Season: April until October

Mibs is a very long barrelling wave that only becomes more manageable during larger south-west swells. A superb sight to behold when the swell, wind and tide unite – comparisons to Desert point are not uncommon. Certainly not for the faint hearted, bring a bigger board and you might just luck into a freight train tube. This place holds some size.

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Left and Right
Also Known As: Lado Lado
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-10 surfers
Season: April until October

The secret deep water wave known as Lado Lado, is a thick A-frame left and right peak that can deliver absolute gold from time to time. A relatively short ride, this Hawaiian style throaty tube, barrels from start to finish and what it lacks in length is made up in quality. Somewhat fickle, the wave requires the right tide and swell direction to really fire, but when it’s on, it’s fully worth having a go – especially since it’s not particularly shallow. A larger board is required for easy entry into its shifting peak.

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Rahasia
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-10 surfers
Season: April until October

Another of Surfing Village's secret spots, Rahasia is a magical break, located in a protected bay close to shore with an impressive tropical backdrop. Needs a solid South West swell to really light up, this left only needs to be shoulder to head high to be extremely fun, with guaranteed barrels on offer. 

Wave Quality: Average
Wave Direction: Left and Right
Also Known As: Ceweks
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-10 surfers
Season: April until October

Situated in a protected bay, this left and right peak offers some long walled up waves and is suited for all abilities. Although rarely surfed – it’s certainly another easy access, softer wave, that’s always worth checking out. Needs some West in the swell before lighting up.

Wave Quality: Good
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Tangguh
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Consistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-15 surfers
Season: April until October

Tangguh is one of the more reliable waves in the Southern Telos, is very open to the Indian Ocean, picking up year round consistent swell. The wave is the first of 3 right handers in close proximity, breaks on all tides and with a number of take-off spots, the crowd is usually very manageable. Different tides will offer different moods, with each wave often perfect in its own way. Fast walls and various tube sections are always on offer in small, medium and large swells.

Wave Quality: Good
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Tantang
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-10 surfers
Season: April until October

The middle right-hander located between Tangguh and Tatras. This is by far the fastest, most hollow and shallowest of the three waves. Not as consistent, but certainly the most challenging, surfers can watch in awe as they sit out the back of Tatras whilst mind surfing flawless barrels breaking a few hundred yards away. Advanced chargers only.

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Skateparks
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Very
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-20 surfers
Season: Year Round

Tantras is a very fun wave that all surfers seem to like. It’s located further in the bay than Tantang and Tangguh & it prefers some west in the swell and is pretty consistent from small to medium sized pulses that frequent the area. Ideal at around head high to a foot over head the wave peaks up to form a back door barrel on the take-off before becoming a top turn machine. Rides are mid range in length (100m) with the occasional tube on the inside section. This wave puts a smile on everyone’s faces due its dream like synchronised shape & perfect rhythm. 

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Left and Right
Also Known As: Beach Break
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Consistent
Wave Type: Beach
Crowd: 5-20 surfers
Season: Year Round

Usually when the swell drops on a surf trip, spirits fade. But when staying at Surfing Village, it’s the exact opposite, as everyone’s attention turns to the local beach break. Known as “DAOCAVANACA” – it’s a semi secret spot with mesmerisingly clear water, which delivers punchy A-frames across a white sandy beach. It’s an all out tube fest, so don’t expect to be busting turns. Bring a fuller, floatier board to get you into the wave early. It’s all about getting to your feet as fast as possible. When it’s on, it’s a real highlight. 

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Facas
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-15 surfers
Season: April until October

If you’re not a charger or an advanced tube rider, then it’s best to give Facas a miss. But if you’re willing to go and you pick the right one, then this extremely photogenic, ultra hollow left will produce some of the best barrels available in the Telo Islands. It’s a 100% commitment type of wave, make the drop and pull in, then eject before the inside closes out! Facas ultimately works only on big South West swells – and is a good 45 mins by boat to get to. But, if the tides and swell line, you could just get the wave of your life. 

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Shhhhh
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-15 surfers
Season: April until October

Shhhhh is a relatively new discovery in the Southern Telos. This fast paced reeling right hand tube can offer perhaps some of the most perfect tubes in the region. Another full commitment wave, for advanced riders and tube specialists only, this thick cavernous right hander churns along the reef with raw perfection before shutting on the inside. Shhhh is another sensitive wave that requires specific conditions – but certainly a bigger size swell is required for this special wave to light-up. 

Charter Boats in Telo Islands

Star Koat SPECIAL OFFER

Star KoatMentawai & Telo Islands

The Star Koat has made a reputation for itself in recent years, as the best value for money boat in the Mentawais...

From: USD 3090 2790 per person
Max 12 / Min 6 guests

Moon Palikir SPECIAL OFFER

Moon PalikirMentawai & Telo Islands

If you're looking for that something extra from your Mentawai experience, then the MP just might be the answer...

From: USD 3600 3150 per person
Max 14 / Min 8 guests

Nusa Dewata SPECIAL OFFER

Nusa DewataMentawai & Telo Islands

The Nusa Dewata is all about scoring uncrowded surf where the larger charters simply can't compete...

From: USD 2500 2250 per person
Max 6 / Min 4 guests

Naga Laut SPECIAL OFFER

Naga LautMentawai & Telo Islands

Built in 1999, the Sea Dragon was designed exclusively for upmarket surf charters...

From: USD 3255 2590 per person
Max 12 / Min 6 guests

Aileoita

Aileoita Mentawai & Telo Islands

The Aileoita 1, is a modern & comfortable surf charter that can host groups of 8 to 10 surfers...

From: USD 2500 per person
Max 10 / Min 8 guests

Kuda Laut

Kuda LautMentawai, Telo & Banyaks

The Kuda Laut had a recent refit and is ideal for small groups looking to explore the Mentawai & Telos...

From: AUD 2800 per person
Max 7 / Min 6 guests

Bintang

BintangMentawai, Telo & Banyaks

The Bintang is one of the largest & longest serving charter boats in the West Sumatra region...

From: AUD 3500 per person
Max 14 / Min 10 guests

MV Addiction SPECIAL OFFER

MV AddictionMentawai & Telo Islands

The Addiction is the most luxurious surf charter in the Mentawai Islands as well as being one of the fastest...

From: USD 5250 4200 per person
Max 12 / Min 10 guests